The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California is offering $10,000 in grant money for student organizations at the University of California at Berkeley who are looking to “advance equal justice.”
The funding is intended for student groups at Berkeley to host speakers who will discuss specific topics such as “racial justice, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ inclusion, or other equal justice issue,” according the ACLU’s proposal application for the program.
The funds are purportedly intended to aid students in expressing their freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, as well as their equal protection rights granted to them through the 14th Amendment. Abdi Soltani, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California, spoke more candidly about the intent of the grant.
“Let’s use our constitutional rights to speak and organize for our right to equal protection under the law,” Soltani states. “Freedom of expression, due process, and equal protection apply to all people, citizen and non-citizen alike.
Bringing speakers, especially right-leaning individuals, to Berkeley’s campus has become a monetary drain for both students and the university itself. It cost approximately $600,000 to host the highly contentious and long-awaited return of Ben Shapiro to UC Berkeley, the birthplace of free speech. And even more recently, controversial conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos spent roughly a quarter-hour on the campus UC Berkeley which subsequently led to $800,000 in security fees as well as other expenses. UC Berkeley called it “the most expensive photo op in the university’s history.”
“We will not be silent and let anyone turn back the clock of these fundamental principles,” Soltani exclaims.
It is unclear if right-leaning speakers fall under the ACLU’s umbrella of speakers who “advance equal justice.”